66% The Equalizer Sep 26
71% The Boxtrolls Sep 26
84% The Two Faces of January Sep 26
—— Two Night Stand Sep 26
87% Jimi: All Is by My Side Sep 26

Top Box Office

63% The Maze Runner $32.5M
65% A Walk Among the Tombstones $12.8M
44% This Is Where I Leave You $11.6M
11% No Good Deed $9.8M
71% Dolphin Tale 2 $8.9M
92% Guardians of the Galaxy $5.2M
20% Let's Be Cops $2.7M
19% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $2.7M
88% The Drop $2.1M
37% If I Stay $1.8M

Coming Soon

56% Men, Women & Children Oct 01
87% Gone Girl Oct 03
—— Annabelle Oct 03
67% The Good Lie Oct 03
—— Left Behind Oct 03

Premieres Tonight

—— Chicago Fire: Season 3
—— Faking It: Season 2
—— Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 2
—— NCIS: Season 12
65% NCIS: New Orleans: Season 1
—— Person Of Interest: Season 4

New Episodes Tonight

—— Awkward: Season 4
—— Brickleberry: Season 3
53% Forever: Season 1
67% Matador: Season 1
75% The Mindy Project: Season 3
100% New Girl: Season 4
85% Sons of Anarchy: Season 7

Discuss Last Night's Shows

—— The Big Bang Theory: Season 8
—— The Blacklist: Season 2
71% Dallas: Season 3
53% Forever: Season 1
93% Gotham: Season 1
37% Scorpion: Season 1
—— Sleepy Hollow: Season 2
62% Under the Dome: Season 2

Act of Valor (2012)



Average Rating: 4.5/10
Reviews Counted: 130
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 98

It's undeniably reverent of the real-life heroes in its cast, but Act of Valor lets them down with a clichéd script, stilted acting, and a jingoistic attitude that ignores the complexities of war.


Average Rating: 4.8/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 30

It's undeniably reverent of the real-life heroes in its cast, but Act of Valor lets them down with a clichéd script, stilted acting, and a jingoistic attitude that ignores the complexities of war.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 79,692

My Rating

Movie Info

An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs in a film like no other in Hollywood's history. A fictionalized account of real life Navy SEAL operations, Act of Valor features a gripping story that takes audiences on an adrenaline-fueled, edge-of-their-seat journey. When a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA operative unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat, an elite team of


Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure


Kurt Johnstad

Jun 5, 2012


Relativity Media - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now


Latest News on Act of Valor

August 21, 2013:
Act of Valor Sequel in the Works
It'll focus on "elite S.W.A.T. officers."
February 27, 2012:
Box Office Guru Wrapup: SEALs Storm Into #1 Spot with Valor
American audiences were in the mood to support the troops as the Navy SEAL film Act of Valor ruled...


Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (98) | DVD (2)

'Act of Valor' reeks of military-sanctioned exploitation drama aimed solely at the 'Call of Duty' set.

March 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fighting is a learned skill; so is acting. And the SEAL stars are plausible only when on maneuvers - performing as their own stunt doubles.

February 26, 2012 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (71)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

When the bullets are flying, Act of Valor is undeniably tense and thrilling.

February 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Comments (2)
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I don't know what to make of Act of Valor. It's like reviewing a recruiting poster.

February 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Comments (49)
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The special ops missions are pretty amazing, but the SEALS as dramatic characters are under-developed.

February 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Richard | Comments (96)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One wonders how the movie might have played as pure, unceasing battle scenes, allowing the combat to define the characters; with real soldiers doing the onscreen fighting, something special may well have emerged.

February 24, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture | Comments (2)
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Act of Valor is a love letter to servicemen but it's also a disjointed mishmash of slick combat sequences paired with awkward performances and a generic storyline.

September 30, 2012 Full Review Source: ScreenRant

The SEALs should stick to saving the world, and the movie makers should look at the differences between a movie and a recruitment video.

September 4, 2012 Full Review Source: The Standard
The Standard

Although likely to delight patriotic American audiences, it will leave everyone else indifferent.

August 30, 2012 Full Review Source: The National | Comments (2)
The National

Would be nothing worth writing about, or even making, without the novelty of seeing some of America's greatest heroes in action.

August 22, 2012 Full Review Source: CraveOnline

It's very much a conventional thrill-ride action movie, though the claims to realism are undercut by too many video-game point-of-view shots as the soldiers engage the enemy.

June 30, 2012 Full Review Source: 3AW

May have you longing for an old-fashioned era of 'square' propaganda, when it wouldn't have been considered a cool recruitment strategy to acknowledge that U.S. troops use constant profanity and splatter opponents' brains against the wall.

May 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) | Comments (8)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Made me yearn for the nuanced screenwriting of Battleship, the moderate politics of Transformers 3 and the versatility and range of Sam Worthington and Taylor Kitsch.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Moviedex | Comments (2)

Not so much a war movie as a tribute to the Commandos known as the SEALs, and to their bonds forged in battle, it's a sombre affair, immersing us in the culture of these specially trained soldiers. Indeed, the cast are made up of genuine SEAL team members

May 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

If you like Act of Valor you may as well abandon drama for porn, because you don't like how the sex scenes feel fake.

May 1, 2012 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show | Comments (3)
2UE That Movie Show

Since when did 'having the uniform at home' qualify as the only pre-requisite for someone's employment? If that has indeed become the case, you can look forward to my imminent casting in Easter Bunny: Origins.

April 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Quickflix | Comments (9)

Directors Waugh and McCoy have obviously been to the Tony Scott school of sunset cinematography. Every other frame of this dawning drama has helicopters, surfboards, speedboats and submarines emblazoned with sparkling twilight.

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: UTV

Act of Valour might work as a recruiting poster for impressionable teenagers, but those who bravely serve in the armed forces deserve a better tribute that the naïve, sub-Team America nonsense served up here.

April 2, 2012 Full Review Source: The List | Comments (4)
The List

I guess they had to be realistic in order to make up for the dialogue, the acting, the special effects, the mawkishness, the closeted homoeroticism, the jingoism...

April 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

A movie so hawkish and gung-ho that it makes John Wayne's The Green Berets look unpatriotic and Top Gun seem positively pinko.

March 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Talk | Comments (2)
Movie Talk

A distasteful and foolish film, a recruiting poster that might well carry the slogan "Join the Navy, Travel the World and Kill People".

March 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK] | Comments (9)
Observer [UK]

It's a furiously macho saga scripted by the screenwriter of 300 and starring real Navy SEALS, those always-get-their-man men of mystery.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service | Comments (2)
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Without the skills of some big-name actors, the type whose magnetism has drawn generations of cinema-goers into cinemas, it's all curiously empty and uninvolving.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Act of Valour is a dud.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Frank's Reel Reviews | Comments (8)
Frank's Reel Reviews

Act Of Valor essentially marries platitude with attitude, veering from the realms of wholesome all-American family life to bullets-raging battle scenes.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

It's like the game Call Of Duty, with worse acting and writing.

March 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Sun Online | Comments (2)
Sun Online

Audience Reviews for Act of Valor

A very interesting idea a film using real Navy Seal's doing action scenes that are like the missions they have done! The action is very good, interesting to known it is authentic, the tactics used and even the methods used to get around the globe in in and out of mission zones. The real problem is the acting, pretty terrible and plot is very thin, it didn't feel like a film at times, more like a training video. As others have commented as well it does have that Call of Duty feel to it as well in the first person perspective a film that generation of fans will enjoy.
May 6, 2013

Super Reviewer

Act of Valor subverts expectations entirely. Unless for whatever reason you find, say, Braveheart lacking in dramatic depth, there is almost no resemblance to a video game born. Most of this is thanks to the opening twenty minutes, the crux of what sets the entire film apart from a fun-yet-shallow Jason Statham flick. There is a sweet, loving vibe in the film as we see the soldiers' care for their families at home, as well. This utter poignancy reappears during the film's finale, one of the most satisfyingly emotional conclusions in a war document since Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima. The hour and a half in between is action, but we've been given enough drama to care about the characters, hence the thrilling success. The sound mixing, film editing, and (surprisingly stable) cinematography all increase the tenseness heavily.
November 1, 2012

Super Reviewer

Wow, if these "actors" are actual Seals, this is amazing. Very competent in front of the camera, and so real this seems like a documentary. Highly recommended for its realistic portrayal of the Seals' lives and for the attention paid to military detail.
September 17, 2012

Super Reviewer

Hollywood often gets ridiculed for its tenuous connection to reality. I doubt any real U.S. Navy Seals look at 1990's Navy Seals as a paragon of military validity. The makers of Act of Valor thought they could do one better than Hollywood. They hired real-life active-duty U.S. Navy Seals as their stars and made a movie based upon Seal combat experiences. Act of Valor was billed as the real deal. I just wish the filmmakers had spent less time on trivial yet realistic details and more time on plot, characters, and enticing action.

Who cares that the movie stars actual Navy Seals? Apparently enough people did judging by its healthy box-office returns in the spring, but really, why should a movie be any better because it has real Navy Seals pretending to be actors rather than actors pretending to be Navy Seals? Is this movie brought to a greater level of excellence because the characters know intuitively how to hold a gun properly? Was the slight difference in posture the difference maker? I suppose there is some curiosity seeing real Navy Seals go through all their training, but you know who else could be trained? Actors! Which these fellas are not. The line delivery is so flat, like the Seals were just happy to spit out all their dialogue and move along. There's little emotion to just about any line that isn't communicated via a bark. I can't fault these servicemen because they never signed up to be actors; they have bigger things on their minds. Is there anything in this movie that could not have been done with actors? I doubt it. I understand the gimmick but I just can't comprehend the appeal. Can an actor not be taught how to hold a gun, how to clear a room, how to squeeze the shoulder of his colleague to communicate move forward? I salute the Seals for trying (as well as defending our country, naturally) but I'm reminded of the old adage: it's easier to teach an actor how to sing than a singer how to act.

The movie seems more preoccupied with trivial details of authenticity than more important endeavors like story or character development. Here's the most trivial detail of them all: live ammunition was used during the action sequences. WHY?! Do the guns not work with blanks? Why in the world would you dramatically escalate the danger on set and risk every shoot with live ammunition, actual gunplay? Action sequences are already a risk, so why would you exponentially increase the danger for ... a slight uptick in realism? Again, it all feels like a movie in service of a gimmick. The plot is a rather cliché-filled jaunt across the world taking down terrorists, rescuing hostages, and mostly just knocking down doors, sweeping rooms, and shooting people in the head. Sure there's a bad guy, a Chechen Islamic terrorist (double bonus: Russian and Arab!) and some other bad foreign guys with beards, but none of it ever seems to matter. I also question why a Chechen extremist would plot to attack the U.S., especially since we don't exactly have the warmest international relationship with Russia. Surely a Chechen attack would strengthen that relationship, and the two countries might work in tandem targeting Chechnya. I'm saying this villainous plan is dumb. The good guys aren't any deeper. Beyond their bravery, skill in combat, and impending fatherhood, we don't know anything about these guys. A series of voiceovers try and list the various characters, but once the action starts good luck remembering any of them. In fact, good luck even keeping the two leads apart. I kept mixing them up myself.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the action is a fairly big let down as well. Directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh must have studied under Tony Scott or Michael Bay, because every shot has the sleek beauty to it, the dawning sunsets, the cool gun mettle colors, the rah-rah jingoist spirit. Seriously, most of the action is just people shooting one another. That may sound like a no-brainer to anyone who bought a ticket, but the action needs to be properly thought out as well as the plot. The first mission, rescuing the tortured CIA Agent, is the best sequence because it has different points of action, organic consequences, and makes good use of geography. I'm going to hammer this point time and again until people take notice: geography is essential to well-developed action. You need to make use of your surroundings in interesting ways, otherwise what was the point of even setting the action there? The later action sequences fail to make use of any of these integral ingredients, so it becomes a rote series of people entering rooms, shooting other people, and moving to more rooms. Rather, rinse, repeat. The action has a muscular feel but it gets redundant rather quickly. That's when your mind starts to notice how transparently the movie is working as a recruitment film for the U.S. Navy. There are sequences in this film that have no bearing on the plot (submarine visit?) other than to showcase the cool things that you, too, can do when enlisted in the Navy. There are plenty of sustained POV shots that give the illusion of a video game, war as a game. This also why the complexities of war and geo-politics are sanded down to a series of clear-cut missions. I feel like the real servicemen deserve a more complex movie that treats their heroics as something more than clearing a video game level.

When you get down to it, the audience that made Act of Valor a hit this past spring reminds me a lot of the audience that went to see the nearly four-hour Civil War movie, Gods and Generals. These are audiences obsessed with the details of realism. They'll pore over the details of costumes and tactics. Whether the movie is actually any good or not, the characters engaging, the plot entertaining, is all immaterial. It's the details they came to see. Hence the real-life Navy Seals, the missions inspired by real Seals, and the live ammunition on set. That's what makes a movie to them. For me, I need more than realistic details; I need people and a story, and if it's an action movie, then there better be well-developed action. It's not like Act of Valor is a documentary people. It's all pretend. I'll be interested in how audiences respond to director Kathryn Bigelow's movie about the hunt and execution of Osama bin Laden. That movie uses actors and has an Oscar-winning director and screenwriter. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference.

Nate's Grade: C-
August 7, 2012
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

    1. Agent Morales: Before my father died, he said the worst thing about growing old was that other men stopped seeing you as dangerous. I've always remembered that, how being dangerous was sacred, a badge of honor. You live your life by a code, an ethos. Every man does. It's your shoreline. It's what guides you home. And trust me, you're always trying to get home.
    – Submitted by Tina Travis L (22 months ago)
    1. Agent Morales: As one stick may break, a bundle is strong.
    – Submitted by Andrew P (2 years ago)
    1. Agent Morales: If you're not willing to give up everything, you've already lost.
    – Submitted by Terry S (2 years ago)
    1. Walter Ross: Remember, they do this for a living too.
    – Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
    1. Agent Morales: Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
    – Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
    1. Christo: Have you ever heard of ceramic balls?
    – Submitted by Sean N (2 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Act of Valor on our Movie forum!

What's Hot On RT

New on DVD & Blu-Ray
New on DVD & Blu-Ray

Neighbors, The Rover, and More

Boardwalk Empire
Boardwalk Empire

"What Jesus Said" episode reviews


Read series premiere reviews

<em>John Wick</em>
John Wick

Trailer: Keanu's Got a Short Fuse!

Foreign Titles

  • Act of Valour (UK)
  • Acto de valor (ES)
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile